|Covering the rabbit grave.|
I had just pulled into my driveway and stepped out of my car. Glancing over between the bushes next to the car was a large rabbit, just lying there. I literally gasped as his size. He almost looked like he was peacefully sleeping on his side. But I knew he was dead. His one visible eye was glazed over and cloudy. He was just such a magnificent example of an eastern cottontail rabbit. Poor guy. Looked like a pretty healthy weight and beautiful coloring.
Bloggers NOTE: YES... I anthropomorphized the rabbit into a dude rabbit. Get over it, move on.
There was no blood, it looked as if the poor guy's neck was broken. I was thinking a stray cat might have done him in, we have a number in the area. Some friends said he was too big to be taken down by a stray and that maybe a coyote or fox got him.
Other people mentioned owls or hawks. Charlotte my neighbor mentioned an American eagle. We have a pair seen quite often on Lake Wynonah. I would think if it were a hawk or eagle, there would've been rabbit hair about or why didn't the bird take the rabbit? He might escaped and then crawled between the bushes for safely, only to succumb to his wounds. I'll never know for sure but my money is on the fox.
Friends asked me if it was a male or female rabbit. They were concerned about a possible nest of bunnies. I didn't check the underside to look for the sex and as I said earlier, I made him a guy rabbit. I picked him up with the shovel and made my way back into the woods. His limbs were starting to stiffen but his body hadn't yet begun to show signs of rigor mortis. It must've happened then on Sunday night.
I wanted to go far back into the woods so that if the grave did start to smell through the earth, it wouldn't waft up to the house. I trudged about 300 feet back into the scrubby woods, laid the recently departed rabbit down on the ground and began digging. Our soil in Schuylkill County totally sucks and is rocky with field stones and shale. It took me a bit to dig a hole 2 feet x 1 foot x 2 feet deep. I guess I got my workout in after all!
I laid the rabbit down with the shovel into his final resting place and stared at him for a moment, saying a small prayer for God's creatures. Such is the way of the world. You know the deal. Nature is cruel, circle of life, rest in peace, all that stuff. Sad but it just happens.
After covering up the shallow grave, I covered it with some field stones and branches to prevent raccoons, coyotes, or the occasional dog from digging it up. Don't need a mess on my hands. It's bad enough I have to do the burial. I didn't feel like reburying a carcass.
As I came back into my yard, I spied another full-size rabbit race across the road into the neighbor's yard. Well at least there are more, I thought. There will always be more rabbits, I then chuckled. I did look for a rabbit's nest in the yard just on the off chance it was a girl rabbit but couldn't find one. I don't need a nest of hungry baby bunnies looming on my conscious after assuming it was a dude rabbit.